Effect would be especially large after extremely cold winters
Scientists seeking to cool Earth’s climate by injecting millions of tons of sulfuric acid droplets high in the atmosphere might trim rising temperatures but could also destroy much of the ozone in polar regions, a new study suggests.
Major volcanic eruptions spew large
amounts of tiny particles, or aerosols, high into the atmosphere, where they
scatter light back to space and significantly cool Earth for months to years (SN: 2/18/06, p. 110). Some researchers
have proposed lofting tons of aerosols into the stratosphere to achieve the
same result, but that process — often dubbed geoengineering — could have a
number of detrimental side effects. Last year, for example, scientists noted
that average precipitation worldwide dropped significantly in the 16 months
immediately following the 1991 eruption of
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